It is really not a coincidence that the International Day of Epidemic Preparedness is being held at a time when the world is just recovering from the deadly blow of the Corona Virus Pandemic and a time when the second wave of the mutated strain of the virus has brought a completely different definition to caution.
Secretary General of the UN Secretary-General António Guterres has keenly observed that our world must now begin to think of the next pandemic and plan towards it in order not be caught unawares like before. As part of preparedness against the pandemic he emphasized the need for strong health systems and social protection, support for communities on the frontlines. He further expressed the importance of science as it still remains the guiding touch out of such tunnels of challenges. He made it clear that safety must be viewed from a collective perspective as no one is safe until all are safe.
Mr. Guterres did not forget to give honor to people that have been at the frontline of the deadly outbreak, literally risking everything in face of the coronavirus pandemic; these include medical professionals and essential workers.
He also said one of the ways for the world to be ready against another Pandemic hit is to build up our prevention capacities.
In a related development, President of the General Assembly, Volkan Bozkir hammered that the way COVID-19 has crushed world economy reveals how important it is to build capacity to handle any reoccurrence of a pandemic outbreak. He expressed the fact that it is epidemic that degenerates into pandemic and if this can be tackled soon enough, we can save countless lives and we must take the last pandemic episode as the final warning to do the needful.
In the same tone, the Director-General of the UN World Health Organization (WHO) , Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus pinpointed the relevance of a “One Health Approach”, which brings together human health, animal health and plant health, as well as environmental factors.
This has become pertinent because, according to him, 75 per cent of new and emerging human infectious diseases are zoonotic, brought about by germs that spread between animals and people. The interface between humans and animals must be addressed he emphasized, if not, whatever effort is invested into enhancing human health would not see the light of the day.
Tedros re-emphasized the relevance of vibrant primary health systems as the bedrock of universal health coverage. This according to him is the “eyes and ears” of health systems everywhere.
He further reiterated that we cannot talk of our world taking a preparedness posture without talking about how the government and society at large getting involved as this task was way beyond that of the health sector alone.
The 27th of December remains the day when International Day of Epidemic Preparedness is marked and this year’s event comes with a strong message to the world that cannot be ignored, especially with the nightmare-like event of the year 2020.
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